In Peru, the Solidarity Center is working to improve enforcement and understanding of worker rights, strengthen unions, and enable the Peruvian labor movement to build strong democratic institutions.
||Workers in Lima process coffee beans. Photo by Richard Lord
Despite a steady, robust increase in annual GDP over the last decade, the benefits of a growing economy have thus far failed to bring improvements in working conditions for millions of Peruvians trapped in poverty and economic insecurity. In key export industries such as textiles and agro-industry, tens of thousands of workers labor under outdated laws that discourage the formation of unions through the use of “temporary” contracts—some as short as three months—that can be renewed indefinitely at the employer’s discretion. These arrangements, increasingly common even in the public sector, keep workers in a constant state of fear that they will be fired or simply not rehired if they speak up about working conditions or support efforts to organize. Meanwhile, even when workers manage to form unions, they frequently meet employer hostility in the form of targeted firings of union members and a refusal to participate in collective bargaining as required under Peruvian law.
Recognizing new opportunities to enhance worker rights with the U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement and increased bilateral efforts to strengthen rule of law in worker rights in Peru, the Solidarity Center focuses on union-to-union capacity building and cooperation between the U.S. and Peruvian labor movements as a means to help Peruvian unions become better representatives and advocates for workers, as well as more active participants in Peru’s democracy.
The Solidarity Center works with Peru’s four principal trade union centrals: the Central Unitaria de Trabajadores del Perú, the Confederación General de Trabajadores del Perú, the Confederación de Trabajadores del Perú, and the Central Autónoma de Trabajadores del Perú. Program activities center on three areas:
- Improving unions’ ability to organize and educate vulnerable workers
- Building unions’ capacity to perform core functions and promote internal democracy
- Enabling unions to participate in democratic policymaking and worker rights enforcement.
Peru: Six Global Apparel Brands Reject Short-term Work Contracts.
March 18, 2013—Short-term work contracts are one way employers around the world deny workers job security, seniority rights and health benefits, often while paying them low wages. So it’s noteworthy that six international apparel companies now support repeal of a law in Peru that allows employers in the garment and textile export industries to hire workers on consecutive short-term employment contracts.
Peru: Judge Orders Fired Union Leader Reinstated to His Job.
March 13, 2013—Fidel Polo Sanchez, a union leader fired for speaking publicly about the egregious conditions of farm workers in Peru, should be reinstated to his job, a judge ruled this week. Sociedad Agrícola Viru, one of Peru’s largest agricultural export plantations, fired Polo July 12, 2012, for “defamation.”
Peru: Support Women Workers, Grow Economy.
October 16, 2012--Women--and the work they do—are central to productivity and economic growth, to breaking the cycle of poverty and to ensuing more inclusive and just societies. Yet too often they face unnecessary barriers and terrible choices when it comes to work. Far from being economically empowered, millions of women around the world, including here Peru, find themselves vulnerable to abuse, exploitation, below-poverty wages and unsafe working conditions. The legal environment either enables their condition or fails to protect them.
Peruvian Union Leader Fired after Speaking out against Poor Working Conditions.
July 20, 2012—An agro-industrial company in Peru has fired a union leader in an attempt to silence one of the strongest voices against unfair and precarious working conditions, says the Peruvian labor federation CGTP. Join the LabourStart campaign
for his reinstatement.
In Peru, Workers Toil to Bring Greens to Holiday Tables.
April 5, 2012—In Ica, 200 miles south of Lima, Peru, tens of thousands of workers harvest and process asparagus, artichokes, and other fresh produce we associate with the arrival of spring. As we head into Easter and Passover, please take the time to think about the men and women in regions like Ica who make the greens on our plates possible.
Agricultural Workers in Peru Use Media to Advocate for Legal Reforms.
April 3, 2012—Peruvian workers from across the country have taken to the airwaves, describing their precarious daily reality and advocating for justice in the workplace. In doing so, they are sending a strong message to Peruvian lawmakers and, at the same time, educating other workers.
Agricultural Workers in Peru Dismissed for Organizing a Union.
February 15, 2012—Ten union leaders, including eight women, who were employed by the agricultural export plantation Euro S.A. in Ica, Peru, were dismissed without notice less than three weeks after forming a union. Workers in Peru’s booming agricultural export sector are continually denied their right to freedom of association through illegal, anti-union practices. The Peruvian labor federation CGTP is mounting a write-in campaign to reinstate the workers.
Agricultural Export Workers in Peru Demand Changes to Anti-Labor Laws.
December 12, 2011—Agricultural export sector unions across the country are demanding that the Peruvian Congress amend Agricultural Sector Development Act No. 27360, an outdated law that limits the rights of nearly 300,000 workers, mostly women.
Legal Advisers for Peruvian Sugar Workers Receive Death Threats.
September 27, 2011—Bernardino Céspedes Paz and Wilfredo Chero Villegas, two labor lawyers in the city of Chiclayo, Peru, have received death threats for supporting workers at Agroindustrial Pomalca sugar plantation.
Peruvian Confederations Analyze Working, Economic Conditions to Inform New Administration's Labor Policy. July 11, 2011—Leaders of Peru’s four major labor confederations united to launch a new report on labor conditions, which found that Peru’s robust economic growth over the last decade has not led to corresponding increases in salaries or the creation of quality jobs. The report was released ahead of the recent presidential election to place the issue of decent work at the center of the campaign debate and allow both candidates to develop proposals to create better quality jobs in Peru.
Solidarity Center Opens Office in Peru.
Civil Construction Workers Mobilize Across Peru in Defense of Their Right to Collective Bargaining. April 14, 2011—Tens of thousands of members of Peru’s Civil Construction Workers Union—la Federación de Trabajadores en Construcción Civil del Perú—rallied across the country on April 6 in defense of their right to sector-wide bargaining and to formally present their initial list of bargaining demands for 2011–2012.
Letters of Solidarity from Peruvian unions to U.S. Public Workers. See what workers around the world are doing to support their union brothers and sisters in Wisconsin.
On May 12, 2010, the Solidarity Center and the U.S. Agency for International Development mission in Peru signed an agreement on a three-year program for enhancing enforcement and understanding of labor rights in Peru, strengthening unions, and enabling the Peruvian labor movement to build strong democratic institutions. Learn more about worker rights and labor law in Peru in the Solidarity Center’s 2009 Global Policy Brief, Peruvian Society, Workers, and Labor Law
"We Have to Work Together If We Want to Protect Our Rights."
Seventy percent of the 60,000 workers in Peru's $300 million per year asparagus export industry are women. Santos Cruz, who works for the Talsa company in Trujillo, La Libertad, is the only female general secretary of an asparagus workers union. At a recent Solidarity Center sponsored training program for union activists in Trujillo, Cruz talked about their struggle.
From Earthquake Rubble Rise Strong Peruvian Unions.
While reconstruction in quake-devastated Pisco lags nearly two years later, local unions are building a movement.
Solidarity Center Expands Andean Programs
. With the appointment of Samantha Tate as Country Program Director, the Solidarity Center has committed to expand its programs in the southern Andean Region.
- ITUC 2011 Annual Survey of Violations of Trade Union Rights in Peru (English / Spanish).